Donald Tusk’s comment that there is a “special place in hell” reserved for people who promoted Brexit without a plan has been met with outrage, praise and more than a few jokes online.
Nigel Farage, who led one of the main Leave campaigns in 2016, said post-Brexit Britain will be free of “unelected, arrogant bullies like [Tusk]”.
“Sounds more like heaven to me,” he added.
After Brexit we will be free of unelected, arrogant bullies like you and run our own country.— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 6, 2019
Sounds more like heaven to me. https://t.co/pTOEmKWJpn
Mr Farage’s former press adviser Michael Heaver called the comments an “irresponsible and pathetic EU attack”, while TV presenter Piers Morgan said the “EU clowns are turning me more pro-Brexit every time they open their insulting mouth”.
A 'special place in hell'?— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 6, 2019
These EU clowns are turning me more pro-Brexit every time they open their insulting mouths. https://t.co/pwOwLbOnPI
Prominent Remain MP Anna Soubry, however, predicted the European Council president would be “wildly misquoted” as she stressed he was commenting on leading Leave politicians rather than “the millions of good people they conned with fake promises they cannot deliver on”.
Stand by for @eucopresident to be wildly misquoted. He was speculating about the people who led #Leave not the millions of good people they conned with fake promises they cannot deliver on. https://t.co/mGDW8pxlna— Anna Soubry (@Anna_Soubry) February 6, 2019
Her Conservative colleague Phillip Lee said the remark was based on reality, even if it annoyed those who “politically orchestrated Brexit”.
He tweeted: “My issue has never been with Brexit voters, it’s always been with reckless, shallow politicians who promised a Brexit they’d no credible plan to deliver.”
This may annoy a few who politically orchestrated Brexit however it unfortunately happens to be based on reality. My issue has never been with Brexit voters, it’s always been with reckless, shallow politicians who promised a Brexit they’d no credible plan to deliver #RightToVote https://t.co/YiWmeRPANX— Dr Phillip Lee 🔶 (@DrPhillipLee) February 6, 2019
Scottish MEP Alyn Smith went even further, describing Mr Tusk as a “friend of the UK” who had been driven to such language “by two years of the lies of charlatans being implemented unchallenged by cowards”.
The more I see of President Tusk, the more I like. Here is a friend of the UK being driven to language like this by two years of the lies of charlatans being implemented unchallenged by cowards. Scotland deserves better but so does the UK. https://t.co/xiHsKynpPh— Alyn Smith MP 🏴🇪🇺 (@AlynSmith) February 6, 2019
But among all the vitriol and politicking online were a fair few helpings of humour as people suggested what the “special place in hell” might look like.
Tory MP Johnny Mercer suggested it may look “a bit like Brussels”, while Labour MP David Lammy had a more specific suggestion.
“The Conservative Party’s annual Black and White fundraising ball is next month and it’s only £10,000 to get a table next to Boris Johnson,” he tweeted.
Bit strong.. perhaps it looks a bit like Brussels. https://t.co/XntFiMhpVs— Johnny Mercer (@JohnnyMercerUK) February 6, 2019
You're in luck, the Conservative Party's annual Black and White fundraising ball is next month and it's only £10,000 to get a table next to Boris Johnson. https://t.co/pSMd6uklwa— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) February 6, 2019
Other ideas included the Westfield shopping centre in west London’s White City, and simply “Milton Keynes”.
*leans to mic*— Mollie Goodfellow (@hansmollman) February 6, 2019
Westfield White City https://t.co/DFsGUZgRs1
Another user, Ben Fenton, had a more literary answer.
The precise location would be the “1st Bolgia of the Malebolge, part of the 8th Circle of the Inferno, for Panderers and Seducers”, he wrote, drawing on Dante’s Inferno, the classic work about the circles of hell.
The area is reserved for “those who ‘deliberately exploited the passions of others and so drove them to serve their own interests'” where they “‘are themselves driven and scourged’,” he added.
Prime Minister Theresa May will meet EU leaders including Mr Tusk on Thursday, a week before MPs are expected to vote again on the EU Withdrawal Agreement.